vfxshow 210: Westworld(s): These violent delights have violent ends

Show Notes:

Mike Seymour and Matt Wallin discuss the visual effects and conspiracy theories in WestWorld (HBO 2016) and the original Westworld from 1973 (Dir. Michael Crichton).

The original film was set in 1983 when a robot virus causes malfunctions and creates havoc and terror for unsuspecting vacationers at the futuristic, ‘adult-themed’ amusement park.

The new HBO TV show is written by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan (Christopher Nolan’s brother).

Visual-effects supervisor for the series is Jay Worth.

DeAging by
DeAging by vfx studio: Important Looking Pirates.

Main VFX studios:

  •  Important Looking Pirates, in Sweden
  • CoSA VFX

  • Titles by Elastic in Santa Monica.

Ian Failes story on the show.



Westworld (HBO)

When the majority of this podcast was recorded, only three episodes had aired.

ep4The episodes so far:

  • The Original
  • Chessnut
  • The Stray

Dissonance Theory aired just as we were editing this podcast and we added a tiny comment on it.

The TV program takes place in the same fictional Westworld, but so far without the matching Roman World or Medieval World. The technologically advanced, Western-themed amusement park is populated by synthetic androids dubbed “Hosts”. Westworld caters to high-paying visitors dubbed “Newcomers” (also known as “Guests”), who can do whatever they wish within the park, without fear of retaliation from the hosts. The show is quite dark and told much more from the point of view of the hosts.

The series’ debut on HBO garnered the network’s highest viewership ratings for a premiere since the first episode of True Detective in 2014.

The original film was made for $1.25 Million in 1973 and went on to make $10M for MGM.


Mike and Matt discuss many theories about the new show. In no order here are some of those theories:

Hell is empty and all the devils are here !

  • Where? The guys suggest it could be on a planet or moon – away from earth enough to require special communications rooms and the staff to live in the compound.
  • When? The guys discount that the story is spanning decades as has been suggested in some fan quarters.
  • Mike pointed out that Talulah Riley is a host in Westworld  (Elon Musk’s Ex)
  • Westworld showrunner Lisa Joy has been set to adapt a “Battlestar Galactica” film for Universal, according to Variety.

  • Mike thinks Arnold left the “Maze” as the ultimate test to see if the Hosts were conscious :

    He thinks the chalkboard memory > improv > self interest > ?  (The pyramid) will be significant.

  • This means the Maze is only for Hosts.
  • Mike thinks the name of the company Delos and the Orion constellation are linked via Greek legend.
  • The show features player-piano renditions of modern-day songs including Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android,” Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun,” and the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black.”

  • In episode 3, Logan (Ben Barnes) states that he’s paying $40,000 a day to get away from it all at the Westworld resort. In the 1973 version it was $1000 a day.  The Man in Black (Ed Harris) has been returning to the park for 30 years. He must be extremely wealthy VIP guest to shell out $280,000 a week to stay there, perhaps this is why “this guest gets whatever he wants”… or he could be Arnold (- unlikely as he is looking for the Maze).

Who is a Host?

  • Given that the Man in Black is told “The Maze isn’t for you,” – Mike believes he is not a host.
  • Is Bernard a host recreation of Arnold by Dr Ford?:  “Bernard Lowe” is also an anagram for “Arnold Weber”
  • Matt also pointed out that Bernard talks and is talked to by Dr Ford in a way not dissimilar to a host.

Bicameralism is defined on Wikipedia as:

  • (the philosophy of “two-chamberedness”) is a hypothesis in psychology that argues that the human mind once assumed a state in which cognitive functions were divided between one part of the brain which appears to be “speaking”, and a second part which listens and obeys—a bicameral mind. The term was coined by Julian Jaynes, who presented the idea in his 1976 book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, wherein he made the case that a bicameral mentality was the normal and ubiquitous state of the human mind as recently as 3000 years ago.
  • Rather than making conscious evaluations in novel or unexpected situations, the person would hallucinate a voice or “god” giving admonitory advice or commands and obey without question: one would not be at all conscious of one’s own thought processes per se. Research into “command hallucinations” that often direct the behavior of those labeled schizophrenic, as well as other voice hearers.
  • The idea that expressions such as These violent delights have violent ends… can be triggers is connected to this and that Hosts are state shifted by voice controls with keywords is a hangover from this Arnold design idea. “We practice witchcraft, we speak the right words ” – Dr Ford

Re Episode  3: Alice in Wonderland

  • Noting that Dolores Abernathy is dressed to look like Alice in Wonderland, and that she reads from that book in the episode, Mike quotes from a school “cliff” notes entry on the actual Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

a child whose only purpose is to escape the afflictions around her. By implication, there is the view that a child’s perception of the world is the only sane one. Conversely, to grow and mature leads to inevitable corruption, to sexuality, emotionalism, and adult hypocrisy.”

Cognitive dissonance: 

  • the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioural decisions and attitude change.
  • In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time; performs an action that is contradictory to their beliefs, ideas, or values; or is confronted by new information that conflicts with them.

Mike’s hypocritical avatar / Robot VR Game:  Robo recall.

link here.

The web site

  • “There are no laws that cannot be broken,” the fictional resort’s virtual assistant Aeden says on the Discover Westworld viral marketing website. “No sexual desire is too sinful or twisted, and we offer complete discretion.”  https://discoverwestworld.com/#
  • AEDEN is a program you can ask questions: 
  • Ask about Aeden three times about Violent delights and:


Also check out


if you explore you can find – you can see a diagram of Delores programming and layouts of the behind the scenes HQ.


Matt’s mega cool theory : that is too cool to be true!

Series two of Westworld will show Medieval World and Roman World and they will be “Game of Thrones” (HBO) and “Rome” (HBO) crossovers… and series three of Westworld will show Westworld to actually be the fourth series of Deadwood (HBO).

Key characters the guys discuss: (from Wikipedia)

• Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores Abernathy, a Host; she is a Western girl who discovers her entire life is an elaborately constructed lie.
• Thandie Newton as Maeve (May) Millay, a Host; she is the beautiful and sharp madam of Westworld.
• Jeffrey Wright as Bernard Lowe, head of the Westworld Programming Division and creator of artificial people (or is he?).
• James Marsden as Teddy Flood, a Host; he is a newly arrived gunslinger in pursuit of a local beauty. (BTW Teddy – the “Kenny” of Westworld…. You killed Teddy!)
• Ben Barnes as Logan, a veteran Guest; he is a louche bachelor. His hedonistic romp through Westworld is equally motivated by self-indulgence and a desire to help his friend, William
• Ed Harris as the Man in Black; a mysterious, sadistic rich Guest of the theme park who is searching for a “deeper level” in the park.
• Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Robert Ford, the brilliant yet mysterious creative director of Westworld



Additional points from Episode 4:

The maze – find the centre of it and you can be free.

Don’t you remember?

1 thought on “vfxshow 210: Westworld(s): These violent delights have violent ends”


Leave a Reply